Landscape Pattern Changes of Desert Oasis Wetlands in the Middle Reach of the Heihe River, China

Arid Land Research and Management, Volume 24, Issue 3 July 2010, pages 253-262

Shoubo Li and Wenzhi Zhao

“Desert oasis wetlands are distributed along the Heihe River, especially in lowland oases along the middle reach of the river, in northwestern China. Landscape maps of the wetlands in 1990, 1995, 2000, and 2006 were compiled based on data collected from Landsat TM and ETM+ images using GIS and analyzed in July 2008. Various landscape indices were calculated using the landscape structure analysis software FRAGSTATS, at both class and landscape levels. The results showed that floodplain wetland is the dominant type of wetlands in the middle reach of the Heihe River, followed by non-forested peatland, then river and reservoir wetland, with the proportion of shrub-dominated wetland low. During these 16 years, the area of wetlands in our study area decreased by 38.4%, or 107.8 km2. The major type of wetland lost in the study area was non-forested peatland during the first five years, but floodplain wetland since then. The landscape pattern shows that the fragmentation level is very high, especially in the floodplain wetlands: the patch density increased by 154% during the study period. It is clear that the wetlands along the middle reach of the Heihe River have become increasingly fragmental during the past 16 years.”

The Need For a Spatial Analysis of Educational Inequities

European Conference on Educational Research 2009 Conference

Kirstin Kerr

“Across Europe, education, disadvantage and place are strongly linked. In areas characterised by high levels of disadvantage, where families most vulnerable to social exclusion are concentrated, children are most likely to achieve poor educational outcomes (Palmer et al 2007). Huge resources have been directed towards breaking this pattern – from strategies promoting school effectiveness and improvement, to area-based initiatives including France’s Zones d’Education Prioritaire, and England’s Education Action Zones (Bénabou et al 2005, Hatcher and Leblond 2001). Yet despite this, the link remains strongly ingrained. Policy’s relative failure in this respect suggests that it has been based on an inadequate understanding of the nature of educational inequities (Gulson 2005, Power et al 2005). Following this, this paper argues that policies need to be informed by spatial understanding of education inequities, which focuses attention on the local structures, processes and relationships which create these. It asks: “What can be learnt from a spatial analysis of educational inequities?” The paper reports empirical data from a spatial analysis of educational inequities in an urban inner-city ward in North West England. This has a number of ramifications – conceptually, and for research and policy: 1. It starts to develop a framework for the spatial analyses of educational inequities focusing on: (1) an area’s observable features (e.g. the locations of schools, demographic characteristics, housing types) (Butler and Hamnett 2007); (2) how areas are experienced and ‘lived’ (Lefbvre 1991); and (3) how these dimensions of space interact and impact on education. 2. It identifies the need for research which can: (1) explain how local dynamics shape educational outcomes; and (2) identify the key underlying factors at work, those which can be acted upon, and by whom. 3. It suggests that policymakers can respond to such analyses by creating broad national frameworks with some scope for strategic development at local level.”

GIS-based Risk Assessment of Grassland Fire Disaster in Western Jilin Province, China

Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment,

Tong Zhijun, Zhang Jiquan, and Liu Xingpeng

“Grassland fire disasters have occurred frequently and adversely affected livestock agriculture and social-economic development greatly in the grassland regions of Jilin province, China. Moreover, both the frequency of grassland fire and loss from them are considered to be increasing with the global warming and economic development. This study presents a methodology for risk analysis and assessment of grassland fire disaster, taking western Jilin province as a case study area based on geographic information system (GIS). The composite grassland fire disaster risk index (GFDRI) combined the hazard of grassland fire, the exposure of the region, the vulnerability and emergency response and recovery capability for grassland fire disaster of the region were developed to assess and compare risk of grassland fire disaster in different counties in western Jilin province, China using the natural disaster risk index method (NDRIM), analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and weighted comprehensive method (WCM). Then, the risk degree of grassland fire disaster was assessed and regionalized in the western Jilin province, China based on GFDRI by using GIS. It is shown that the most places of western Jilin province were in mediate risk. Zhenlai, Tongyu were in heavy risk. Taobei, Ningjiang, Fuyu were in light risk. The information obtained from interviewing the district official committees in relation to result compiled was statistically evaluated. The GFDRI was developed to be an easily understandable tool that can be used to assess and compare the relative risk of grassland fire disaster in different counties in the western Jilin province, China, and to compare the different relative contributions of various factors, e.g., frequency of grassland fire and quality of emergency evacuation plan. The GFDRI is specifically intend to support local and national government agencies of grassland fire disaster management as they (1) make resource allocation decisions; (2) make high-level planning decisions; and (3) raise public awareness of grassland fire disaster risk, its causes, and ways to manage it. ”

A GIS Analysis of Climate Change and Snowpack on Columbia Basin Tribal Lands

Ecological Restoration, 27(3):256-257 (2009)

David Graves

“”A robust snowpack is the most important factor for the delivery of cool and consistent stream flows throughout the year in the Pacific Northwest, but it is at risk of depletion in an era of climate change. Most of the region’s precipitation falls during the cool months between autumn and spring, historically as snow in upland areas. There it exists as a frozen reservoir that, as it melts, sustains flows during the dry months of late spring and summer. With increasing air temperatures anticipated from 21st century climate change, many of these upland areas in the Pacific Northwest may receive more rain and less snow, leading to increasing flooding during the winter months and lower stream flows during the summer months, when water is needed most for competing economic and ecological uses (Mote et al. 2003, ISAB 2007). The Indian tribes of the Columbia River Basin are interested in how these conditions may change because seasonal stream flows are critically important to salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, O. keta, O. kisutch, and O. nerka) and steelhead (O. mykiss), and they are also important to other traditional food resources of the tribes such as lamprey (Lampetra tridentata), sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus), deer (Odocoileus spp.) and other big game, biscuit root (Lomatium cous) and other roots, and berries.

New Edition of Modeling Our World Now Available from Esri Press

Book Provides Updated Information on Geodatabase Model

Modeling Our World: The ESRI Guide to Geodatabase Concepts from Esri Press is a comprehensive work that explains the fundamental geographic information concepts underlying the geodatabase model and its use. The fully revised second edition reflects the new features and functionality available in ArcGIS 10.

The book details the use of geodatabase structural elements to ensure spatial and attribute integrity in data modeling and geographic analyses. In addition, it explains how to manage an organization’s workflow and provides strategies to scale geodatabases from small projects up to multiple departments across a large organization.

“Professional GIS [geographic information system] users have the role of creating and managing authoritative geographic information. This second edition of Modeling Our World is about enabling those GIS practitioners to implement efficient, effective, and elegant systems,” says Clint Brown, Esri’s director of software products.

Author Michael Zeiler is a systems designer for Esri with more than 20 years of experience diagramming GIS concepts, building data models, and programming. Zeiler authored the first edition of Modeling Our World, as well as Inside ARC/INFO, published by OnWord Press in 2000.

Modeling Our World: The ESRI Guide to Geodatabase Concepts, Second Edition (ISBN-13: 978-1-58948-278-4, 312 pages, $44.95), is available at online retailers worldwide, at, or by calling 1-800-447-9778. Outside the United States, visit for complete ordering options or visit to contact your local Esri distributor. Interested retailers can contact Esri Press book distributor Ingram Publisher Services.

[Source: Esri press release]

Estimating Similarity of Communities: A Parametric Approach to Spatio-temporal Analysis of Species Diversity

Ecography, Published Online 20 July 2010

Steinar Engen, Vidar Grøtan and Bernt-Erik Sæther

“Several stochastic models with environmental noise generate spatio-temporal Gaussian fields of log densities for the species in a community. Combinations of such models for many species often lead to lognormal species abundance distributions. In spatio-temporal analysis it is often realistic to assume that the same species are expected to occur at different times and/or locations because extinctions are rare events. Spatial and temporal β-diversity can then be analyzed by studying pairs of communities at different times or locations defined by a bivariate lognormal species abundance model in which a single correlation occurs. This correlation, which is a measure of similarity between two communities, can be estimated from samples even if the sampling intensities vary and are unknown, using the bivariate Poisson lognormal distribution. The estimators are approximately unbiased, although each specific correlation may be rather uncertain when the sampling effort is low with only a small fraction of the species represented in the samples. An important characteristic of this community correlation is that it relates to the classical Jaccard- or the Sørensen-indices of similarity based on the number of species present or absent in two communities. However, these indices calculated from samples of species in a community do not necessarily reflect similarity of the communities because the observed number of species depends strongly on the sampling intensities. Thus, we propose that our community correlation should be considered as an alternative to these indices when comparing similarity of communities. We illustrate the application of the correlation method by computing the similarity between temperate bird communities.”

Trajectories of Land Use Change in Europe: A Model-based Exploration of Rural Futures

Landscape Ecology 25(2): 217-232

Peter H. Verburg, Derek B. van Berkel, Anne M. van Doorn, Michiel van Eupen, and Harm A. R. M. van den Heiligenberg

“Land use change is characterized by a high diversity of change trajectories depending on the local conditions, regional context and external influences. Policy intervention aims to counteract the negative consequences of these changes and provide incentives for positive developments. Region typologies are a common tool to cluster regions with similar characteristics and possibly similar policy needs. This paper provides a typology of land use change in Europe at a high spatial resolution based on a series of different scenarios of land use change for the period 2000–2030. A series of simulation models ranging from the global to the landscape level are used to translate scenario conditions in terms of demographic, economic and policy change into changes in European land use pattern. A typology developed based on these simulation results identifies the main trajectories of change across Europe: agricultural abandonment, agricultural expansion and urbanization. The results are combined with common typologies of landscape and rurality. The findings indicate that the typologies based on current landscape and ruralities are poor indicators of the land use dynamics simulated for the regions. It is advocated that typologies based on (simulated) future dynamics of land change are more appropriate to identify regions with potentially similar policy needs.”

Enterprise License Agreement Extends GIS Success for City of Philadelphia

Helps More Departments Improve Work, Spur New Services, and Reduce Costs

The City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is taking advantage of Esri’s enterprise license agreement (ELA) program to supply more departments and government workers with geographic information system (GIS) software. As a result, many city departments are now building and sharing their data, applications, and services. The new GIS applications and data help the city work more effectively to give its citizens improved services. The ELA will also help reduce costs over the next several years.

“The ELA has been instrumental in expanding GIS use across the city, especially in a time of tight budgets,” says James L. Querry, director of enterprise GIS, City of Philadelphia Division of Technology. “The agreement extends the benefits of GIS by allowing departments to produce data and perform geospatial analysis themselves. It also gives them the ability to implement critical systems, such as Cityworks’ GIS-based asset and work order management, to improve the city’s ability to deliver services faster and more effectively.”

Esri offers ELAs for all types of organizations including commercial firms and federal, state, regional, and local government agencies as well as low-cost ELAs for smaller local governments and utilities.

The Esri ELA program gives Philadelphia a cost-effective way to deploy and extend GIS into a wide array of business processes. It enables city staff to efficiently manage further GIS expansion for delivering business value throughout the entire organization. As a result, more departments use GIS analysis as part of their daily operations. In many cases, these departments can easily use the software as part of their workflow rather than soliciting GIS data and analysis services from the city’s central GIS group within the Division of Technology.

Several new projects have resulted from the deployment of the ELA. These include

Free GIS-based iPhone application—This allows people to report a problem immediately using the convenience of an iPhone. They can take photos of an issue—such as a downed streetlight or debris blocking a road—and send the geotagged picture directly to the city’s 311 system. It’s then immediately routed to the appropriate city department.

3D Cities initiative—Using sophisticated guidance systems, lidar sensors, oblique imagery, spherical imagery, and other data sources, the agency is piloting a 3D model of downtown Philadelphia. It includes a 3D surface model, as well as building interiors and belowground transit corridors with extremely accurate representations, displayed using GIS. The modeling will assist with a number of services, from responding to an underground emergency to planning future growth.

PhillyStat—Based on the Baltimore, Maryland, CitiStat system, PhillyStat is a performance-based management methodology that takes advantage of GIS data, maps, and analysis to continually improve the quality of services provided to the citizens of Philadelphia. It evaluates policies and procedures practiced by city departments for delivering all manners of urban services, from criminal investigation to pothole repair.

[Source: Esri press release]

A Spatio-temporal Climate-based Model of Early Dengue fever Warning in Southern Taiwan

Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment, published online July 17, 2010

Hwa-Lung Yu, Shang-Jen Yang, Hsin-Ju Yen, and George Christakos

“Dengue Fever (DF) has been identified by the World Health organization (WHO) as one of the most serious vector-borne infectious diseases in tropical and sub-tropical areas. During 2007, in particular, there were over 2,000 DF cases in Taiwan, which was the highest number of cases in the recorded history of Taiwan epidemics. Most DF studies have focused mainly on temporal DF patterns and its close association with climatic covariates, whereas they have understated spatial DF patterns (spatial dependence and clustering) and composite space–time effects. The present study proposes a spatio-temporal DF prediction approach based on stochastic Bayesian Maximum Entropy (BME) analysis. Core and site-specific knowledge bases are considered, including climate and health datasets under conditions of uncertainty, space–time dependence functions, and a Poisson regression model of climatic variables contributing to DF occurrences in southern Taiwan during 2007. The results show that the DF outbreaks in the study area are highly influenced by climatic conditions. Furthermore, the analysis can provide the required “one-week-ahead” outbreak warnings based on spatio-temporal predictions of DF distributions. Therefore, the proposed approach can provide the Taiwan Disease Control Agency with a valuable tool to timely identify, control, and even efficiently prevent DF spreading across space–time.”

The Implementation of International Geospatial Standards for Earth and Space Sciences

International Journal of Digital Earth, Volume 3, Issue S1 April 2010 , pages 2 – 13

Stefano Nativi

“The Earth and Space Sciences Informatics division of European Geosciences Union (EGU) and the Open Geospatial Consortium jointly organised a special event entitled: ‘Implementation of international geospatial standards for earth and space sciences event’ – at the EGU General Assembly meeting held in Vienna, April 2009. The event objectives included: (a) to discuss the integration of information systems from different geosciences disciplines; (b) to promote and discuss the present process to scale from specific and monolithic systems towards independent and modular enabling infrastructures – forming an earth system science (ESS) infrastructure; and (c) to show some of the latest advances in implementing open standards. This manuscript introduces the event motivations and describes the abstract and holistic framework, which can be used to situate the topics and the developments presented by the event speakers. This manuscript introduces important, and relatively new technologies to build a multi-disciplinary geosciences information system: the System of Systems approach and the Model Driven Approach. To achieve that, three important information infrastructure categories are recognised: (a) ESS information infrastructure; (b) geospatial information infrastructure; and (c) distributed information infrastructure. Digital Earth should support the discussed framework to accelerate information transfer from theoretical discussions to applications, in all fields related to global climate change, natural disaster prevention and response, new energy-source development, agricultural and food security, and urban planning and management.”